This article discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline available 24/7.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Suicide deaths climbed in Ohio in 2021, ending a two-year decline witnessed in years prior, according to new data from the state Department of Health.
As the 12th-leading cause of death in Ohio, suicide accounted for the deaths of 1,766 Ohioans in 2021, an 8% increase from the year before, the department said Friday in its 2021 Suicide Demographics and Trends report. That means about five Ohioans – up from four in 2020 – died by suicide every day.
“We’ve got to reduce that number,” said Tony Coder, executive director of the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation. “We’ve got to get that down to four, then to three, then to two, then to one every day – and hopefully put me out of business.”
The statewide rise in suicide deaths mirrors trends at both the local and national levels, with Franklin County recording a 10% jump in suicide deaths from 2020 to 2021 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recording a 4.79% rise across the U.S. during the same period.
Between the coronavirus pandemic, financial hardships, and social unrest experienced across the U.S., Coder said 2021 took a toll on the mental health of Ohioans, likely attributing to the rise in suicides.
https://b0442f556ce3bb250582123a27d5840b.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-40/html/container.htmlAngela Chapman selected as Columbus schools superintendent
“Two years ago, it’s kind of hard to remember, but there were some folks that were losing their jobs, businesses were struggling, just the lack of being able to see each other in person was something that really took an impact on folks,” he said.
But with the right help, Coder said suicide is preventable. While Ohio loses five people to suicide every day, another 35 are checking into emergency rooms daily for treatment after a suicide attempt, he said.
“Those are 35 people that are seeking help and getting the care that they need,” Coder said. “That’s where I hope that we can also see, that for all of the hopelessness that this report might show, there’s a lot of hope out there for folks if they get the care that they deserve.”
White people had the largest increase, 7%, in the rate of suicide deaths per 100,000 people, according to the Department of Health. The rate among Black Ohioans – though it has steadily increased since 2012 – stayed largely the same in 2021.
Despite making up just under half of Ohio’s population, men accounted for 81% of suicide deaths in 2021, the report found. Those aged 75 and older had the highest suicide rate relative to other age groups. Among women, the rate was highest within the 45 to 54-year-old age bracket.
Suicide continued to be the second-leading cause of death among Ohioans ages 10 to 34 years in 2021, and during that year, 24 children between 10 and 14 years old died by suicide.Columbus approves $850,000 to fight violence in city’s neighborhoods
As for method, firearms were the No. 1 mechanism for completing a suicide among both men and women, with guns accounting for 991 deaths in Ohio in 2021 – a 10% increase from the year before. Coder said one data point that surprised him was the 22% rise in suicide deaths by drug poisoning.
“We have not seen that type of increase before,” he said.
Rural communities, which historically have lacked access to mental health resources, were hit hardest by suicide in 2021, the report found. Of the 15 counties with the highest rates of suicide death, 14 are considered rural.
“If you get into Jackson, Gallia counties down by the Ohio River, you might have to travel a county or two just to find somebody to seek care from,” Coder said. “It’s literally an access to care issue that needs to be addressed.”
In 2020, the state partnered with Coder’s organization, the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation, to create the Suicide Prevention Plan for Ohio. Since then, the state has implemented awareness programs like Life Side Ohio for gun owners, a 988 suicide and crisis hotline, and the Ohio School Wellness Initiative to prevent and address suicide in schools.
Gov. Mike DeWine, who has made funding for mental health a priority during his administration, proposed the allocation of millions of dollars in the fiscal year 2024-25 budget, including:
“Most of this funding is sent directly to local communities and will be used to increase the number of Ohioans trained to help people build skills to bounce back from difficult life events and to reduce stigma so people can ask for help without shame,” Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Director Lori Criss said in a statement.
Ultimately, Coder said it’s important that those considering suicide – and those impacted by suicide – recognize that they are not alone and recovery is possible.
“We can get help; we can have hope,” he said. “And that’s what I hope our message is: You don’t feel like you’re on an island, you don’t feel like you’re all alone.”
Spectrum News 1
Cuyahoga Falls High School students wrote positive messages on clothespins before distributing them during lunch to fellow students as an act of encouragement. It’s for a campaign with Sources of Strength, which is an evidence-based wellness program focused on suicide prevention.
“So, I think the whole point of this program is to encourage people to keep trying, keep working, keep going, because there is outside help always,” Aloisi said.
Aloisi is proud to be part of this new group as a Peer Leader.
“I think everyone deserves to have a positive friend or mentor in their life and knowing that I have some myself, I want to do it for other people,” she said.
Fox 10 Phoenix
When Jamieson Brill answers a crisis call from a Spanish speaker on the newly launched national 988 mental health helpline, he rarely mentions the word suicide, or “suicidio”
Brill, whose family hails from Puerto Rico, knows that just discussing the term in some Spanish-speaking cultures is so frowned upon that many callers are too scared to even admit that they’re calling for themselves.
“However strong stigma around mental health concerns is in English-speaking cultures, in Spanish-speaking cultures it is triple that,” said Brill, who helps people navigate mental health crises from a tiny brick building tucked away in Hyattsville, Maryland.
A Hilliard family is accusing Amazon of selling a product to their 16-year-old daughter that their attorneys say she used to die by suicide in 2020.
In a products liability and negligence suit filed Sept. 29 in California, the parents of the teen joined other families from around the country in claiming that Amazon assisted in their child’s “untimely, painful, and preventable” death by selling her an industrial-grade chemical that cost less than $20.
Coping with one extreme trauma is difficult enough. Dealing with a lifetime of physical, verbal, and sexual abuse can understandably assault a person’s mental well being. Summerlee Godbolt is here to share her journey, while advocating for the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation.
The Columbus Dispatch
Amid the worst months of her husband’s rapid mental health decline, Julie Leonard recalls waking up most mornings thinking one thing: “What fresh hell awaits?”
It was a time marked by uncertainty and anguish, the potential for tragedy looming each day until the proverbial bomb Leonard had long dreaded went off. Her husband, Steve, died by suicide in 2008 at the age of 40, leaving Leonard and the couple’s three young children in Cincinnati left to pick up the pieces of their family’s shattered life.
Now, those four words Leonard contemplated daily — ”What fresh hell awaits?” — serve as the title of the first of three ceramic art pieces she created to reflect on the final days of her husband’s life, and the journey of grief it set her upon. Beginning with the depiction of a grenade, the series ends on a more-hopeful note now that Leonard has transformed that pain into a powerful artistic statement.
A first-of-its-kind statewide campaign is partnering with a unique sector to end suicide: gun owners in Ohio.
About 10 gun shops across the state have partnered with the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation (OSPF) to launch Life Side Ohio – a “groundbreaking” awareness campaign aimed at putting politics aside to curtail suicides by firearm, according to OSPF Executive Director Tony Coder.
Ohio’s new 988 number for those experiencing mental health or addiction crises is up and running.
Launched on Saturday, Ohioans dealing with a mental health or substance abuse emergency can now dial or text 988 to get connected with a licensed counselor — a move aimed at expanding access to care while eliminating the hassle of punching in, and remembering, the 10-digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number.
“This is just going to be eventually as ubiquitous as 911,” said Stacey Frohnapfel-Hasson, bureau chief of the Office of Prevention at the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (ODMHAS).
The statewide transition to 988 comes about a month after the Ohio House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill to align the Buckeye State with a federal mandate requiring phone service providers to direct 988 calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by July 16.
Ohio mental health specialists are reminding everyone you are not alone.
The Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation says one of the best ways to prevent suicide is to understand the signs and remind your loved ones you’re there for support.
Executive Director Tony Coder said their goal is simple — save lives.
9-8-8 will soon become Ohio’s go-to number for mental health crises, all while attempting to divert care from cops to counselors. Beginning July 16, Ohioans dealing with a mental health or substance abuse emergency can dial or text 988 to get connected with a counselor – a move aimed at expanding care while eliminating the hassle of punching in, and remembering, the 10-digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number.